Monday, December 31, 2018

Hello 2019, where the Vita still rocks!

Welcome to 2019, effectively the last stand of the Vita against a world that has moved on several hardware generations over the eight years of its life. Yes, news and releases have slowed down in 2018, to a trickle next year, but the Vita is still firmly clutched by many gamers.

They all have their reasons, but I preferred the Vita (and PSP before it) as my primary games device because it was always there at a seconds notice, wherever I was in the world on whatever mode of transport. No endless firmware or multi-gig game updates, and the battery (even of my launch day model) and power management still laughs in the face of smartphones and the Nintendo Switch.

Then there's the huge library, from launch games that still look good today, to a still-growing roster of indies that can scratch any gaming itch. Yes, I now have a Switch, PS4 and X1 in the family, but it will take them some time to erase all the fond memories of Sony's portables.

Since I own many digitally, I can cycle through the library and replay them (having forgotten how fun they were first time around), while snapping up physicals that will see me through the inevitable delistings and closure of the Vita store in the coming years.

But ultimately, the Vita community is small enough to be a valued part of and something to care about, unlike the juggernauts of bigger or more modern consoles. It became my little corner of the Internet and I thank everyone who's visited or got in touch from gamers, developers, publishers, would-be coders and artists over the eight years I've been posting.

I hope I've helped keep the Vita flame flickering - see you in 2019!

P.S. I know the names of a few titles yet to be announced, and there's plenty of good stuff on the way!

Vita end of year sales spike to 4K in Japan

Rushing to the end of year in Japan, Sony celebrated the launch of Square's Dragon Quest Builders 2 with some 58K unit sales of PS4 hardware last week according to Media Create data. The PS Vita, with no new major releases in months still managed a decent 3,939 despite no support whatsoever, and will likely perk up further in the last week of 2018.

That will probably be the final "good" week for sales, as it drops off the radar of most Japanese publishers and retailers. Media Create still tracks the couple of hundred Xbox One sales but I don't think I'll keep going with this chart once it falls below 2K regularly, what's done is done!

Japan's otome fans will likely be flooded with easy ports and updates as other releases dry up, but beyond a few gems like  KonoSuba RPG: God's Blessing, Catherine Full Body and possibly Romancing Saga 3, pickings look pretty slim out east.

Friday, December 21, 2018

YouTube borked on Vita, and a kinda-fix

As has been widely noted, Google has updated the mobile version of its YouTube site, and it no longer works for Vita owners, giving us the "Could not find the application" error. A shame, as the way pages worked on the Vita was very good for skipping adverts, and I had a long list of bookmarks for favourite songs and channels that I could play while working or relaxing.

If you have a shortcut, the fastest fix is to change it to forcing the site to use desktop mode. Press the X on the blue bar to get rid of the annoying "We've redirected you..." message to free up some screen space.

Even with that, the desktop site has can often be rather unhelpful with stuck-in-advert loops, reverting to the mobile site at random and other quirks. However, you can still play videos, through a semi-random fix.
Wait for an advert to play, then press back on the browser menu, press play again and your video should start. You might even get through a number of different videos before you end up in an advert loop again, depending on the channel you're watching. 
That works for me mostly, your mileage may vary!

Looking at the YouTube update and engineering blog, there's no specific post about recent changes, and naturally no one to ask for a fix. Sony haven't updated the browser (Silk 3.2 according to a browsercheck, but really a Webkit-based version of NetFront) in many years. But NetFront is the Switch's choice of browser, so there must be reasonably modern updates for it, maybe there's some hope.

What we're really begging for is Sony to open up the Vita to allow third-party apps or an open source browser on there, but of course Sony won't do that! Then again, Sony finally updated a bit of the Vita store app for the first time in forever, so perhaps miracles do happen...

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Review: Super Life of Pixel

Life of Pixel was one of my favourite PS Mini games, dragging us back through the history of gaming. Super Life of Pixel is a major update that adds a bunch of features, notably the reward of trophies for all those daring pixel-perfect leaps, off-screen jumps into the unknown and risking death to explore the new secret areas.

Starting back at the dawn of consumer home computer gaming with the ZX-81, there are eight levels per computery world, with our hero the green cube Pixel leaping merrily around each level collecting diamonds, secret fruit and other goodies. Come the BBC Micro levels, he can double jump and there are more skills to learn along the way with vehicles to ride in another of the game's major updates.

Sound, colour and art style all pay homage to the machines of the time, with Speccy colour clash, bold BBC colour and gorgeous SID like tones from the C64, all the way up to the relatively modern hi-res visuals of the SNES and Amiga. There's also lots of nods to the hit games of the times, a must see for any true retro gamer.

The gameplay itself is pretty simple with well-timed leaps the order of the day, dodging the batty or robot enemies, and finding the trigger switches that play an increasingly important role in the later levels. Blue pixel relatives pop up from time to time with some sage advice, if there's some new move or way to explore.

With spikes popping up on floors and ceilings, gravity reversal and teleport points, there's a lot going on as you advance through time. Each new world brings back fond memories of gaming past, and the harsh challenges they put up.

After the first few sets of levels, the rest open up, so if one set of flick-screen puzzles proves really tough, perhaps because of the lasers, the barrel-chucking bosses etc, you can go and play levels from another era. Which is a relief, as some of the later levels are big and daunting affairs, and with only two lives per level, you can soon get fed up with one particular tricky mission.

Adding to the trickery are bubbles to float in, bombs to break up walls, jetpacks for space rides and more little joyous nostalgic moments for gamers of a certain age. If you want an extra challenge, online leaderboards show off the best times for each level.

Its impossible not to like Super Life of Pixel, such a charming adventure through time and games past, with a solid challenge. With such rich history to pick from, there will always be room for more and you might moan about not seeing a nod to your favourites. Yet, while you'll die hundreds of times getting there, its all good fun.

Score: 8/10
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Price: £9.49 (PSN, Cross Play on PS4)
Developer/publisher: Super Icon/White Moon Dreams
File size 699MB
Progress: Up to date

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Sometimes You bringing sci-fi adventure Planet RIX-13 to Vita

Sometimes You is bringing 9 Eyes' pixel adventure Planet RIX-13 to the Vita soon, based on a recent trophy listing and a spot of digging. The short, less than an hour - if you follow a guide - adventure looks like a dash of fun and is well rated on Steam from its original 2017 launch.

Update, the game is now live on PSN, priced £3.99 on the UK store.

Asdivine Hearts 2 trailer pops up

Kemco continues to pump classics RPGs out of its production line, and there's nothing wrong with that if you like endless turn-based battle and character-lite fun. Asdivine Hearts 2 offers a fresh adventure with new team-based system, old friends and new, and some very pretty pixel characters.

Picking up two years after the events of their first adventure in Asdivine Hearts, Zack and friends find themselves off on another quest, but this time to save the parallel world of Archelio,  in danger of being frozen in ice.

PS Vita Roundup's 8th Birthday, and the Vita's 7th

In a random world doing random things, I started my blog 8 years ago this month, coincidentally a year before Sony launched the Vita console in Japan, which celebrates its 7th birthday this week - not that you'd notice, Sony Japan didn't bother! Way back then, it was only hinted at as the "PSP2", then it became "NGP", before the whole "Vita" thing happened.

Based on the success of the original PSP, I had high hopes and big dreams of playing top-brand games wherever I wanted to play them. As we all know, reality bit a few years in, despite many impressive efforts at Sony and beyond.

Still the Vita has still been a great ride in gaming and writing for me. The focus on smaller games mean I got to know individual developers and publishers, who were more accessible than the first-party teams. Even today, awesome titles and ports appear, and 2019 will see my Vita party on alongside my Switch and new PS4, with many of those devs and pubs already moved on.

And a smaller user base has built a tight community of Vita lovers, gathered round the light of their OLED (or LCD) screens, championing a device that Sony long-since abandoned. Even seven years after the hardware first hit, it remains a fun little platform for coders to work on, and I hope Sony keeps farming those dev kits out to attract new coders for the PS4 and PlayStation 5. 

So, happy birthday to this blog and the Vita, and thanks to everyone who's been along for the ride and enjoyed the splurts of news and opinion that I've rattled off (over 7,100 posts, 300 games, 180 reviews, 2,600 trophies and 4,250 Twitter friends).

Plans for 2019 include publishing reviews of the games I never got round to writing, interviews with developers from what we can now call "back in the day" and a James Bond mission into the heart of Sony to find out what the "Vita 2" 2015/16 prototype was like! I guess I also need to start collecting Vita hardware before it starts hitting silly prices.
And the Vita's seventh anniversary, launched in Japan on the 17th December 2012
Thanks again, and have a great Christmas/New Year on VitaIsland!

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Review: Scintillatron 4096

Few things in gaming are more beautiful than a Vita OLED alive with exploding particles and pixels, and Scintillatron 4096 crams them in larges numbers onto the small screen. With a fiendish score mechanic to keep us playing, this is right up there with TxK and Son of Scoregasm when it comes to laying out a joyous shooting experience, not bad at all for kFunction's first release.

The object of this twin-stick shooter is simple, each level has two colours of sub-atomic particle targets. Take them out in colour order with speed and accuracy, and your score will be awesome. Make a mistake or mistime a shot and your multiplier resets, while random blasting won't get you very high up the online score chart at all.

Peering down the game's well-like aperture, the action takes place on a flat plane, with your tiny vessel charging around trying to get the right angle to take the next shot. Initially, you'll try to get close to each target for an easy kill, but as the level gets busier, that becomes tougher.

Each wave is short, and the subsequent levels throw in extra challenges like hunting or sniping drones, and if you spend too long struggling for those last hits, things get even nastier. Managing the main challenge while dodging the obstacles creates a near perfect risk-and-reward challenge.  Do you take a long shot to knock out the last yellow and risk blowing your multiplier, or do you duck and dive through the carnage to get closer for a safer shot.

That's compounded by some colour objects sitting more or less on top of each other, and you have to move around to encourage them to separate or get an attractor or repeller power-up to send them in different directions, all while under fire or pressure to finish that level.

Such is the focus on the action, it was only looking at the screenshots on this page that I realised the lives and wave number were in the bottom right and the remaining time of your power-ups is bottom left, you'd never have time to look at those in the heat of battle.

The Greatest Trick the Devil Ever Pulled

Whatever the result, one of the greatest tricks that Scintillatron 4096 pulls is that between-level and end-of-game score screens take on great personal significance, as you look to see where you can improve or how you did particularly well (or badly) in a category and how you compare to the online score tables.

With tables for highest score, level, number of combos and so on, there are various ways to play the game, and lots of little tricks to pick-up, like collecting power-ups in between levels or herding enemies into a corner and picking up the three-way shooter.  Power ups give you more firepower, which can be good or bad depending on your needs. They can freeze the enemies in place or provide extra lives and a range of other tricks.

Scintillatron's start screen and trance music easily make for a great screensaver. I wish there was a way to view that without the text and scores over them. Even better if you could play your own music - the Vita always lacked that feature in the music player app. Any chance of a patch for that?

As with any game this focused, there's a few things I think are missing. A sniper zoom option for really close enemies would be cool, perhaps limited to one use per level. Also, since the aim is for perfection, how about an undo power-up if you happen to cock one shot up?

Powerups could also do with some colour differentiation to keep your focus on the action and not squinting for help in the corners of a level. And, would it be too much to ask for an endless or passive mode? And, yes the Vita lacks the PS4's two player mode, but that doesn't feel like a great loss.

While I do love the music, the discordant sound effects and retro speech synthesis seriously grate. I know why the voice sounds a bit like Gauntlet, but its one more distraction I don't need in the middle of a tough level. At least you can turn the speech volume down.

Also, I see the same scores on levels rather too often, if I get 58,600 on level one, one more time!!! So, perhaps either an extra speed or accuracy factor on the score calculator would be good to shake things up.

In reasonably short bursts, Scintillatron is a fun demonic challenge, and hopefully plenty of Vita owners will get their names on those online high score charts.

Score: 8/10
More Reviews
Price: £7.99 (PSN)
Developer/publisher: kFunction
File size 257MB
Progress: Top of the combo scores (for now)

Thursday, December 13, 2018

BitDungeon + the latest Red Art Physical Release

Arriving on January 25th and limited to 2,000 copies, pixel dungeon rogue-like BitDungeon+ from Dolores Entertainment is another indie charmer getting a well-deserved boxed release. Trapped in a prison cell, you explore randomized dungeons and hack and slash your way through dangerous bosses.

The difficultly increases as you become stronger and stronger. Build your character how you want with deadly passive abilities. Just like the classic quarter crunchers of old, if you die you lose everything and start all over. Can you make it to the end and save the day?

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Vita sales perk up to around 2.5K in Japan

It is very hard to get excited about any jump in Vita sales these days. but the old dog managed 2,484 in last week's Media Create figures as the holiday season sales start in earnest. That's just a tad lower than the Switch at 280,000, taking 75% of the whole Japanese hardware market, helped by the arrival of Super Smash Bros.

For reference, the Switch also passed the Vita's lifetime sales last week. It took less than two years to outsell the Vita in Japan, an impressive achievement for Nintendo and a sad indictment on how poorly Sony handled its second and last handheld.

SSB sold 1.2 million copies, showing just how much Japan loves their Switches, with 8 of the top 10 games for the hybrid. No Vita games in the chart, but Atelier of the New Earth is out this week across all formats, so might not even make the smallest of dents.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Some Eve Rebirth Terror glossy pics

Japanese sites are full of glowing imagery from El Dia's Eve Rebirth Terror, here's a few of the more interesting shots. Check out the rest for yourself, plus the list of characters and crew. The sequel to Eve Burst Error, it very likely won't come west, so enjoy and wonder what all the fuss is about!

The game launches in Japan at the end of April, and continues the story after the original game, a year on with the failing Amagi private detectives struggling to find cases to make ends meet. As people start going missing again, there's mysteries to solve as this VN adventure picks up the pace.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Review Va-11 Hall-a

When the world is going to hell, head to a bar. That sounds like good advice to me, and while the bar (well, pub) I have in mind for the upcoming Brexit nightmare is in a secluded beach cove with great views, needs must. So, the people of the dystopian nightmare that is Glitch City head to Va-11 Hall-a (Valhalla) to ease the pain and unload some of their woes on the local bar tender.

There's techno-terrorism, idol worship, business worries, personal dramas, pretty much anything you'd find working a real bar, just without the mopping up. The aim of the game is to get the drinks right, from a mix of five ingredients, with optional ice, ageing, mixing or blending.

Get that right and you earn hefty tips to help pay the bills, decorate the flat that passes for your home and buy some trinkets to keep you sane. Arcade games provide a small distraction, but you really need to focus on the orders, and not skip text in case you miss something.  Make enough mistakes and its game over, back to that last save point.

While Valhalla is classed as a visual novel, its actually pretty light on plot and there's no real choices to make. You just need to keep an eye on what your customers are ordering, ignoring the fact they might be a brain-in-a-jar, some mil-spec nut job or just a hack out for gossip. Approach in the right frame of mind and getting the drinks flowing is as pleasurable as the real thing, with the Vita touchscreen used to select the ingredients in the correct quantities.

With secret characters to reveal, various endings and a range of highly-sexed characters, some the game comes right out of Waifu 101, which might disappoint, but if you suspend your critical faculties, Valhalla rolls right along. In the breaks between shifts, there's your own social media to catch up on the latest gossip and the odd spot of downtime to enjoy. Regular branching saves are recommended, because you don't know if drinking all 12 beers on offer will open up a new route or not?

The art is gritty and neon-laced in a non-too-subtle retro style, with characters fading in and out. You can add scanlines for further retro-isation, but they don't add much to the experience. Holding the atmosphere up is an excellent soundtrack (well worth getting on vinyl), and you can pick your favourites to play during your day at work.

Just like Papers, Please, Valhalla takes a monotonous task and makes it quirky fun thanks to the injection of some rambling plot that you only see a few strings of. With a sequel, N1rv Ann-a on the way in 2020 (but not for Vita apparently), its good to know the tale doesn't end here.

Beyond the game, Valhalla is also a miniature cultural phenomenon, with huge amounts of fan art out there, check out @Sukeban for lots of it and insights into the game. Not a game to play in a rush, channel your inner Woody from Cheers, Quark from DS9 or Mike from Only Fools and Horses, and you'll have a great time with the irregulars that show up.

Score: 8/10
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Price: £11.99 (PSN)
Developer/publisher: Sukeban/Wolfgame/Poppy Works
File size 293MB
Progress: End of the bottle

Friday, December 7, 2018

XSeed's London Detective Mysteria gets a launch announce trailer

Wow, packing an M rating for lots of mature themes, this sounds more of a handful than it first looked. Visual novel London Detective Mysteria from XSeed is out on the 18th for Vita owners to dive into the frivolities of Victorian London’s high society and the mysteries that lie hidden in London’s darkest corners.

Playing as the heiress of House Whiteley, players will name their own Lady Whiteley as they investigate mysteries of London and interact with personalities inspired by famous fictional characters including Detective Holmes, Jack the Ripper, and more. Take full control over the experience by adjusting text speed or even the individual speaking volumes of individual characters and their original Japanese voices. Players must choose their words carefully as they interact with other characters, as decisions made throughout the story will not only affect special rewards but will also shape whether Lady Whiteley finds love or something more sinister in the shadows of 19th century London.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

The Vita games keep on coming for 2019

The Vita still won't go quietly as a bunch of fresh announcements keep us happy campers busy in games. Ratalaika continues its porting onslaught on the Vita, teasing its first 18-rated title for the handheld. The only clue I can give is that its a pixel horror adventure. Go figure! And that's just one of half-a-dozen they have in the pipe.

UPDATE: Add another one to the list, Signature Edition will be making an announcement on Friday

UPDATE to the update: And that release is Darkest Dungeon Signature Edition, which I hope would come with all the new DLC and extra goodies. They include a Darkest Dungeon comic book, enamel pin badges, soundtrack CD and collector's art card. Pre-orders start next week, so ignore the "sold out" splashed over all the formats.

Not far behind we have EastAsiaSoft teasing three new Vita physical releases for 2019, two of which will be announced soon.

UPDATE: Two of those have been revealed as Super Destronaut DX (review), out in 2019 with extra content including new game modes, new BGM, extra trophies and other new features. Also going physical is I am the Hero (review) available next week. Time to update the list of mystery.

Helping things along is a fresh trophy listing from Las Vegas-based puzzle specialist Powgi with letter game One Word on the way to add to its growing roster of fun. The firm has a long list of apps and console titles that could yet make it to the Vita, joining Word Search and Word Soduku.

Over in Japan, we have  Eve Rebirth Terror, a visual novel sequel to Eve Burst Terror  from El Dia announced for 2019. Also on the way is Kadokawa's dungeon crawler, KonoSuba: God’s Blessing, showing that the mid-size and smaller Japanese publishers are still taking an interest, and will hopefully push for translations to boost overall sales.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Vita PlayStation Plus titles going out in style

December's gems on Playstation Plus for Vita owners are Iconoclasts and Papers Please. Two excellent titles, both solo efforts from Joakim Sandberg and Lucas Pope, they show how far individual passion and creativity can go.

That's a big step up on recent efforts, which have felt heavily like filler content, as we count down until the March 2019 elimination of Vita and PS3 from the PS+ service. Oddly enough, I have both of these in my PSN shopping cart, but hadn't gone for either as I had a strange feeling this might happen.

Of course, this could be way to keep Vita only-owners to keep paying for PS+ for a few months longer while they polish off these games. Since I have a PS4 now, I guess that's plenty of reason for me to keep going, but Vita owners who moved to Switch or Xbox are going to be mighty pissed when they need to pay monthly to access old games, with no new content.

Review: I am the Hero

Everyone needs to play a good beat 'em up up once in a while, and here's Ratalaika delivering a punchy port of I am the Hero, the well-rated Steam brawler from Crazyant. Reduced to single player on the Vita, you wade into battle on the mean streets of somewhere, with only your fists and feet to deal in revenge for, maybe, some stolen chemicals from a hospital? I guess the plot isn't the strong point here.

Set at an oblique angle, rather than the flat levels of classic  brawlers like Double Dragon and Renegade, you're still on a flat plane, limited to left and right movement as modest waves of thugs from the rougher edges of the city line up for a kicking. Using directions and buttons, you have around 16 moves at your disposal, and stringing them together into devastating combos is great fun.

At your disposal are a range of kicks, punches, charges, mighty leaps and some special EX-Skills plus critical attacks, but there are no weapons to pick up. Instead, your main aim is to build up massive combos, ideally done by lining up three or more enemies in a row and pummeling them all at once. In the air you have ludicrous skills and can juggle enemies across the sky or bounce them into the scenery to great effect.

By the way of extras, there's challenge modes to overcome, and a smattering of hidden secrets to round out the trophies. For the expert pugilists out there, the game starts in Standard mode, and you unlock Hard and Critical difficulties.

Contender, Ready

I am the Hero looks good, with reflections off the wet roads in the opening levels, plenty of bright neon lights to illuminate the darkness. It doesn't take itself too seriously either, the hoodlums know they're in a daft game and pull silly faces, they have stupid cartoon weapons and animate well. However, compared to other versions it feels slightly jerky.

Across the levels there's the odd bit of street furniture to interact with or dodge, but not really enough to keep up the mad tone of the game, and the bystanders are a missed opportunity for some encouraging banter or vicious verbals.

Complete a level and you can learn a new skill or choose another character to play as (you can swap them out during fights). In standard mode you can pretty much wade through most levels, with the odd soda can or pizza helping replenish your health.

The game definitely isn't quite as smooth as the original, and with five or more characters on-screen feels rather choppy. Enemy attacks vary from dumb to all over the place, which might suit the tone of the game, but fighting purists probably won't like the big boxer character endlessly pummeling at thin air rather than coming to attack.

Also, your attacks can be way past an enemy and still hit them, which doesn't feel in the spirit of the game. The ability to corral enemies into a corner and wipe them out in one go feels cheap too. Still, with plenty of variety and imagination (of the bad 70/80s cop series variety) going into the enemies, the game doesn't get boring.

There's also some neat touches, like if you keep dying on the tricky lift level, which is easy to do, eventually it will let you survive the long fall to keep on with the battle. That, some new touches like the bomber drones and exploding chemical frogs, plus a curiosity to see what comes next should keep you going to the end. Yes, this is a pretty short game, but still worth having a crack at.

Score: 7/10
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Price: £7.99 (PSN), currently £6.39 for PS+ subs
Developer/publisher Crazyant/Ratalaika
File size 213MB
Progress: 5th Round

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Sony patents new memory card, only $49 per GB!

Kidding about the price! But Sony has form for screwing over fans every chance it gets. It also continues to keep teasing new technology that would only make sense in a portable or hybrid capacity.

Update: Or not, its actually for the Toio gadget thing that Sony only sells in Japan. Quite why the patent only came to light now is part of the random madness of the Internet.

The PS4 doesn't need memory cards or cartridges, I have a 2TB external drive that attests to that. However, the PS5 might need a way to send lots of data between the main console and an on-the-go device, without resorting to slow mobile cloud speeds, until 5G is everywhere in about 2024.

As found by Dutch site Techtastic, a recently published document on the South Korean patent board, the patent shows various images (PDF) with what looks suspiciously like a proprietary port (doesn't seem like a USB C) to prevent people connecting them to PCs and hacking the data. Hey, it wouldn't be Sony if they screwed this up somehow!

Another image shows a hole behind the upper cap, likely so it can tied to a keychain or strap for portability. Otherwise your guess is as good as mine, as Sony struggles to find a valid reason for gamers to upgrade from the top-selling PS4 to whatever comes next. But since its called a "game cartridge", Sony won't need them unless it has something smaller than PS5 Blu-ray titles in mind. Also, this could act as a way to keep retail stores sweet for the next generation as physical disc sales continue to fall.

If I had to guess, that touchscreen controller or a dedicated remote play device has a slot for this card/cartridge. Players buy the PS5 game and a mini-version (without 4K textures etc) of the data is copied to the cartridge, plus save data is stored automatically. Then if they want to go portable, off they trot on their HD device.

I am the Hero punches the trailer

I'm reviewing this right now, but check out the trailer ahead of this week's PSN launch for I am the Hero. So far, the game is a punchy little number with lots of fun characters to pummel, an impressive line up of moves, and plenty of oversize bosses to take down.

Presented in a unique oblique perspective, it looks distinctive while remaining true to the pixel punchers of old like Renegade. It also daubs the screen with neon colours to light up the seedy bars, subways, dingy depots and other shitholes our anti-hero has to scrap his way though. Full review soon.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Root Letter getting the movie treatment

Visual novel series Root Letter is getting the Hollywood treatment, as was teased recently and confirmed in the image below. Popular among western Vita owners, thanks to PQube/Rice Digital, the tales of loss and love in as series of letters create a slow and soulful series of adventures. The original has sold over 400K units worldwide with a very long tail, likely over 500K by now, most on Vita. 

But, that's pretty much all we know, there's nothing up on IMDB yet and the partnership between Kadokawa Games and Akatsuki (an LA production company) still has wet ink on it. This looks like Akatsuki's first signed venture, so as with all things Hollywood, who knows if it gets made. 

Top Vita games for 2019!

I was planning to write a "Vita in 2019" piece, but @KeyBladeGamer has crafted this video together of the best games coming out next year, and that pretty much does the job perfectly. From the likes of Code Realize to Catherine (Japan only alas) and Pixel Noir, Hardcore to Seraphim, there's still a small barrel full of delights to come for Vita loyalists.

As for a Sony portable future, we can only hope PS5 in 2020 comes with some type of Remote Player device as standard to play in the hybrid era. I'm guessing not a huge percentage of users play their Switch undocked in the west, but it still has to be something Sony is aware of, and Microsoft also has its own plans for cloud and remote gaming.

As for the Vita, prices will go up as scarcity increases and it becomes a collector's item. But I hope we all realise development is at the very tail end, and it will take labour-of-love type efforts to get more new games. Even so, the Mega Drive and Dreamcast are still ticking along, so who knows what might pop up.

When Vita is finally officially retired by Sony, I do hope they show off their lab-grown successor devices that never made it to retail, just to see what could have been.

Japan's PlayStation Awards broadcast in English

Over the coming weekend if you want to see a barrel of PS4 worship, and perhaps five seconds of a Vita game getting a mention, check out Sony Japan's PlayStation Awards. Doubtless there will be lots of politeness about the top sellers and no mention of PS4 being caned by the Switch in Japan.

Given a Vita game has been a rare sight in the Japanese charts this year, not sure what there is to celebrate although the likes Va-11 Hall-a and Reverie got a lot of media coverage in Japan and likely sales on PSN, so here's hoping for a spot of kudos in the indie section.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Dragonfly Chronicles tells its tale on the Vita

Marco Ayala's Dragonfly Chronicles is a surprise December release for the Vita, a retro-arcade title with platform and shooter elements, it looks pretty primitive, but if it plays okay, then we can look past that at this stage of the Vita's life.

Launched in the summer on PC, it got no reviews, suggesting this is a very under the radar release. here's the game's bio. Dragonfly Chronicles is a 2D Action-Adventure game full of challenge and fun for single player. Play as Mark West in his path to find what happened to his father and what is The Dragonfly conspiring, make your way through each level, use powerfull skills to destroy deadly enemies and creatures, find different items to reveal more data, play in super fast levels as you escape from exploding facilities and enjoy awesome comic-book cinematic cutscenes!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Vita edges along in a Japan dominated by Switch and Pokemon

Good news, Vita sales were flat last week in Japan at almost 1,800, even edging up a few on the previous week. Bad news, Switch sales went stratospheric, leaping 4X to over 200,000, in other words a 100 times what the Vita sold and 88% of the total market. Pokemon Let's Go had something to do with that selling over 650K units.

Are you happy with your marketing and successor choices now Sony? Sobbing over the concept models that might have made Vita 2 a competitor and kept you in the game rather than letting Nintendo steal all your cake?

Even more good news, a Vita game sneaked into the chart, down at 20 admittedly, but VN Twilight Line is the first game for Sony portable to visit the chart in a good few weeks. 

PSO2 vs Persona 3 and 4 Mashup, cause why not?

Yep, Sega has pillaged every other series for cross over content, from the recent Monster Hunter efforts to just about every other series that's big in Japan. The new one seems a fairly low-key effort with a Persona Labyrinth, some character art of characters from Persona 3 and Persona 4 with characters, costumes, accessories and mats.

More pics here (JP).

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Kenka Bancho Otome 2nd Rumble trailer

Bobble-headed brawling is the latest feature among the character introductions in Spike Chunsoft's Kenka Bancho Otome 2nd Rumble, perhaps one of the last major published titles hitting the Vita in Japan. If you're a fan, the official site has Twitter banners and icons and more to play with, following the theme of the original Girl Beats Boys tale from the popular manga.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Trailer for Kemco's RPG de jour, Marenian Tavern Story: Patty and the Hungry God

Cooking games are popular, RPGs are popular, you can almost see the jackpot signs lighting up behind the eyes of Kemco's big boss as he cranks up the production line another notch. That might be the cynical approach, but hey, this trailer for Marenian Tavern Story: Patty and the Hungry God, actually looks like it has some soul to it.

Update: Despite it mentioning Vita on the Video title, it might not be, so don't get even slightly excited just yet!

Running the bar in an RPG world you need to keep the kitchen stocked and the customers happy, which makes for a neat mix. As you rake in the profits, you can improve the hostelry to attract bigger and better-paying customers. If we ignore the cookie-cutter characters, I think this could be rather fun, in a grindy kind of way.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Sony ditching E3 in 2019, new plans afoot?

While Sony yells about the mega sales of the PS4, now past 86 million units in five years, it still had the corporate sneakiness to bury the fact it won't be at E3 next year. Rather than just be honest about this news, it was buried in the report, causing the usual fuss. Sony could have made the statement clear and in bold, and there would be about 10% of the drama being shown.

But why the low-key effort and why won't it be there? Given that PlayStation 5 is lurking in a lab somewhere, it sounds to me like Sony had a long-standing plan for PlayStation 5 that has since been derailed by the hybrid success of the Switch and Microsoft’s new focus on cloud “any-device” gaming.

The portable factor? 

Likely, I suspect Sony is revising its next-gen plan to include mobile, any-device or play-anywhere gaming as part of the package, instead of the PS4/Vita Remote Play combo that didn’t take off when Sony cancelled its portable. It needs to be part of launch because if you make it an extra like PSVR, then only a tiny fraction of the users will adopt it.

Will this be a touchscreen controller as in the one Sony patented recently with a larger screen? Will it require a complete re-engineering of PlayStation Network to link multiple devices and services? Either way it sounds like Sony has had to delay PS5, which is the only reason it wouldn't want to be toe-to-toe with Microsoft at the world's biggest game show next year.

Microsoft can use the time to flog Xbox One X2 and Nintendo a more portable Switch next year. Sony will be in no hurry to launch PS5 having trounced Xbox this gen, and since they canned Vita 2, all their resources can be focused on the one product, no matter how many parts there are to it.

Of course, there are plenty of other events Sony can show a PS5 at, in Japan, Europe, or it can host its own global press event at a time exactly of its choosing. That might be next year, more likely 2020, but any later and it risks losing fans to other devices.

Me, I got my PS4 last week and have a five-year catch up to get on with, so I don't really care.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

13 Sentinels unlucky for Vita owners in Japan

Atlus has announced Aegis Rim: 13 Sentinels won't come out for the Vita in Japan. The game has had its 2018 release date officially shuffled to "TBA", extending the endless delays on this game, and formats changed to PS4 only. As translated from the Japanese announcement below.

[Before change]
Scheduled release date: 2018
Compatible models: PlayStation ® 4, PlayStation ® Vita

[After change]
Expected release date: to be determined
Compatible models: PlayStation ® 4

Even if it had released on Vita in Japan, the chances of Atlus bringing the handheld version west were probably pretty remote given the latest shift in release date.

Good job I just picked up a PS4 I guess, but this news can't really come as a surprise as Vita sales drift ever lower and developers look to squeeze modern gaming concepts and tech into a very old platform.

Basically, that's it for major developers working on the Vita in Japan, so indies, ports and retro releases are the future, but probably not for long. No worry though, most of us have years worth of backlogs, and most Vita games still look good enough that I'll be happy going through my library from launch day Uncharted to more recent releases all over again.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Vita sales slide into the night in Japan

Media Create's latest figures show the Vita's sales matching trend with last year but reduced to just under 2,000 sales for the last couple of weeks. The million yen (£6,785) question is will it pick up at all over the seasonal selling period, or is it doomed to float quietly to the bottom. Consider the Switch sold over 54K this week while the PS4 managed 16K, slow clap for Sony's product and marketing teams.

No games in the Media Create chart and it looks there might never be again at this rate. Atelier of the New Earth Nelke and the Legendary Alchemists  from Gust is out next real hope, out on 13 December.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Microsoft's cloud gaming effort suggests a Vita-ish future

Hmm, this is twice I've written about Microsoft recently. First for their icky concepts for smartphone controllers. Now, over the weekend, the company held a big show that was mostly about Game Pass, its cloud streaming game service that's pretty-much device agnostic. As if MS is fast moving away from the "Most Powerful Console in the World" as those endless adverts insist.

Update: Kotaku seems to be agreeing with me!

Like many other powerful things, X1 sales aren't amazing. Will there be an Xbox Two? Of course, it won't go the way of selling Windows upgrades, Nokia phones, Windows Mobile, Zune music players etc. But it might not be the expensive hyper-box fans would hope for. Will there be AAA console-exclusives? yes, but the time and cost of these projects is unsustainable expect for a few keystone projects.

Instead, Game Pass is now globally available on iOS and Android, with more devices to come. But, console games, on a phone? Even with a crappy controller bolted on to it? You can see where this is going, right? More games on Game Pass and PS Now, more platforms? All you need is a good device to play them on. So why not an Xbox-branded game device that does the job perfectly?

The Cloud is Where its At

Where MS has found success in recent years to take up the slack from all the failed hardware is in cloud and services. That's where its gaming future seems to lie. Game Pass at $10 a month for a bunch of games you can play on any device sounds pretty cool, like PlayStation Now, but with a wider spread. And with so many services, why not one box that plays them all? even suggests that the service could arrive on Switch or PS5, which would earn major subscription bucks and put a host of games on new platforms. That's assuming the platform holders agree, and Sony rarely plays nicely with others, until the fans pick up their pitchforks.

With PS Now worth just under $150 million a quarter, and many companies preferring to tout their service income rather than hardware sales (even Apple is going this way), your gaming future could be cast in this Netflix-like light. And services in isolation are bad, just ask Microsoft!

But most controller-based games need a few buttons and nothing has come close to the Vita. Sales of those mobile controllers are tiny. So, if all the big names in gaming want an anywhere, any-platform, any-service, gaming-device, surely a 5G Android Vita spiritual successor, would work best, casting to HD TVs and encouraging multiplayer.

Just a thought!

Battle Princess Madelyn launch trailer, 2019 for Vita

Handpicked Games and CBit's Battle Princess Madelyn retro platformer is hitting the major formats this year, a little later than planned. but it is still coming for the Vita and Wii U, just a little later - into 2019. Still can't wait to get my hands on it, but this might be one I pick up on the Switch for time-sensitivity and the higher res detail.

Will still get on Vita for the trophies, but likely not that many as a I usually get stuck a few levels into these types of Ghosts n Goblins games, and hammer away at the that level from time to time, until I get bored or somehow make it through.

Monday, November 12, 2018

The circle is now complete, PS Vita meet PS4

I'm not the earliest of adopters of regular consoles. I only got an XBox 360 when the Jasper non-RROD model came out. My PS3 was one of the cheap skinny models with dust-trap styling, and now I have a PlayStation 4 slim model to stretch my gaming life out a few more years. 

Mainly it'll take over alongside my Switch as the release list for Vita games dries up. Thanks to PS+ and Cross Play, I already have a long list of titles to enjoy. I can enjoy all the visual effects as they were designed, and not have to squint at tiny text on the Vita screens. But I guess most of you know this already with your own PS4 experiences. 

And, of course, I can go PS4-ing on the go. Early signs of strong Remote Play are good, with a blast of Resogun working fine around the home. Based on others' experience, pretty sure I know what to do if problems do start. And, I look to forward to trying long-distance play.  

In case you were worried, this won't mean the end of PS Vita Roundup, which easily has a good year of official life left in it before we hit the crazy world of hyper-indie and legacy backlogs. And my PS3 is far from done, I have quite a few games still to finish and a modest backlog on that too. 

Thursday, November 8, 2018

NIS America waves bye to the Vita with trio of physical releases

NIS America will grace its homeland at least, no word of an EU release, with a trio of Vita physical releases as a final farewell to Sony's handeheld. Penny Punching Princess (review), The Lost Child (trailer) and The Longest 5 Minutes (review) will neatly slot into any collector's shelves as a nice bookend from one the Vita and PSP's staunchest supporters.

Landing on March 19, that's perhaps a key date as physical release production wraps up and we're left with the Sony-can't-be-arsed-to-update-it PSN store and a dwindling supply of Vita hardware.

Still, thanks to NIS America for their support, from the fun of the Criminal Girls and, of course, bringing us the mighty Danganronpa games. Plus the deeper PSP titles like Aedis Eclipse and Disgaea. Which I'm sure will all be getting HD updates for the Switch.

Note: these are selling out fast on the NIS America store.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Retro-platformer Ghoulboy swings at the Vita

He's got a (fake) viking helmet and a big sword, among a range of other weapons. Wrap Ghoulboy in an unashamedly retro skin, with excellent chiptune music and old-screen effects, and we have a classic platform romp headed to the Vita packed with puzzles and challenges. Dolores Entertainment is bringing the Serkan Bakar-coded original to consoles soon.

The Steam version launched last year and has mostly positive reviews. Ghoulboy is combines action-RPG with hack 'n' slash fun. It brings back the look and feel of the very best classic retro platformers from the 90's, introducing refreshed and engaging gameplay mechanics. Digital and physical releases are promised.

Monday, November 5, 2018

New Konosuba RPG shows Vita party isn't quite over in Japan

It has been a while, but a new Vita game has actually been announced (ignoring the endless stream of romance VNs). The drought is broken thanks to Entergram with a new KonoSuba RPG: God's Blessing announced for Japan. The short announce trailer shows off a dash of classic JRPG action, and a racing tune, hopefully lots more to come.

Update; The game has a release date for the end of March 2019, and a host of new fan-service in the bonus "goddess cultivation game" For more information if you'd care to hit auto-translate on the link, or just stare at the pretty pictures.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Review: Fast Striker

Hot(ish) from the Dreamcast and NEO-GEO comes a fun and pacy shooter to warm up your arcade reflexes this winter. Fast Striker from NG:DEV.TEAM joins the Vita's rich list of arcade shmups including TxK, Velocity Ultra, Neon Chrome, DariusBurst and others with a rip-roaring 60fps blast spread over six stages, with four different ship/game modes.

At its default view, Fast Striker takes up a tiny window for crisp and clear original pixels in the middle of the Vita's screen. You can scale the view up to make things bigger but things appear less clean as you near full screen view, still playable though. In the background, raving dance anthems blast out as you dodge massive ships and endless volleys of fire.

Your Fast Striker ship is nimble enough to weave in and out of the action, but when you start firing your vessel slows down, so careful use of the fire button is required. When enemies die, they drop tokens, which will gravitate toward your ship if you stop firing, creating some fun risk/reward mechanics. Shields (circle) help keep your craft out of a tight spot, or you can use them to crash through a fleet of enemy ships. Extra lives and a smattering of continues can help you build up the knowledge and skills to make it deeper into the game.

Below the battle, tiled industrial or sci-fi city scenes help set a dark tone for the game, and help make the bold-coloured incoming fire more obvious. One quirk is lots of different-looking tokens appear, they can look like enemy fire at first, some consistency or border colour would be helpful here, but you soon learn.

The real focus of the game is to get the highest score possible through chains, bonuses, accuracy and so on. A shame the high scores aren't online to give you something to compare your efforts to! The different modes, Novice, Original, Maniac and Omake (new for the PlayStation version) have different scoring systems and up the volume of firepower, as best demonstrated by the game's official screenshot page.

Also worth remembering is that you shoot behind you with the square button to take out any lurkers. Among all the chaos keeping a good line through the bullets is key to your long term survival, most times it feels more like luck than design, but somehow you can squeeze through many impossibly tight situations.

Its annoying there's nothing in the digital manual about what all the extras are. What's a "tech bonus" and who is the blue robot you shoot for extra tokens? Some context would be really helpful, with perhaps a few hints about what the game's secrets are. Still, if you like repetitive shooting, Fast Striker provides a quick blast of action, but perhaps lacks the sophistication of recent games, and it still isn't Ikaruga!

Score: 7/10
More Reviews 
Price: £5.79 (PSN, Cross Buy)
Developer/publisher: NG:DEV.TEAM/EastAsiaSoft
File size 99MB
Progress: Many bullets dodged

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Microsoft plans a (badly) portable Xbox gaming experience

Microsoft could release a brilliant remote play device like the Vita, to augment the mighty Xbox One X machine and generate more interest to drive sales. But, no, instead Microsoft Research is planning something like these shitbricks so people can play on their Xbox titles via xCloud (or whatever they end up calling it) on their phones.

While only dummies, they look horrendous and, even refined, you can bet the final product will be premium priced. Microsoft would struggle to sell anything that looks like a hippos arse and the whole solution looks like the usual bad idea.

As the Vita shuffles quietly off to the technology retirement home, it proves that only Sony really got the portable gamer design right. Switch feels clumsy and cheap. Despite the muscle behind those iPhone games, there's no obvious mobile controller choice that's really comfortable, and here we have yet more crude abuse from Microsoft to solve what should be a simple problem.

The real solution, of course, is for someone to build something like the Vita with brutal WiFi, good battery and 4G/5G for remote gaming. But make it platform agnostic so PC, Xbox, PlayStation and Nintendo games could be played anywhere.

LCD screen prices are a fraction of what they once were, and system on chips reduce the unit price further. While this dream machine might not be an OLED nuclear reactor of a system, even a modest device could bring most of the world's games under one portable screen.

Monday, October 29, 2018

More lingerie fun in the latest Japanese Catherine trailer

A lady showing thigh? Holy cow, stop the press. Not sure why Atlus Japan is flinging this tepid smut in the guise of an adult drama theatre at Japanese gamers to pimp Catherine Fully Body. Surely, Catherine will sell on its merits as a class game, not by a few more touchy-feely cut scenes. Oh, hang on...

UPDATED: And another clip... the many loves of many K/C/Qatherines

Anyway, more to come, except in the west where Atlus is too busy flogging the digital delights of the new Persona Dancing games. Odd that the company has a placeholder for the miles-away 13 Sentinels, but nothing for Catherine and the placeholder site still refuses to mention formats.

PlayStation Classic lineup revealed, most playable now on Vita

Update: The PlayStation Classic is out now, and will likely sell out quickly, snapped up by nostalgic fools and resellers. But for those who can't find one, seriously, a cheap second hand Vita can provide many more PS1, PSP, PS2 and PS3 era games plus a massive roster of Vita classics, mostly available at budget prices!

Original story: 

Sony has published a final list of the 20 games (and only these, no expansion or store to download more) that will populate the £90 PlayStation Classic Mini Console, launching early December. We have something for everyone in the list, bold titles you can play on Vita/PS3 right now (EU store anyway), most for just a few £/$:

Rayman, Grand Theft Auto, Toshinden, Ridge Racer 4, Mr Driller, Metal Gear Solid, Twisted Metal, Oddworld: Abe's Odyssey, Syphon Filter, Tekken 3, Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six, Wild Arms, Cool Boarders 2, Final Fantasy VII. Jumping Flash, Destruction Derby, Revelations Persona (as PSP title Shin Megami Tensei), Resident Evil: Director's Cut, Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo and Intelligent Qube (available on Vita as Kurushi Final).

To make things worse, the bundle uses PAL (50Hz vs the NTSC 60Hz refresh rate) versions for almost half the games, making for a chuggier experience for American gamers used to nippier fare.

The console clearly isn't aimed at modern PS gamers, instead its for those who gave up gaming a long time ago, or collectors. Revelations Persona is perhaps the most interesting addition, as the starting point of the PSP and Vita's most talked-about series.

Anyone interested? I still think these games (except for Rayman and Mr Driller) on a HD screen will look pretty scary, while on a portable, the condensed viewing area provides a better viewing experience. And as Sony is promoting in the dumbest way possible "the new console is approximately 45% smaller than the original." - like anyone cares?

Friday, October 26, 2018

Battle Princess Madelyn seeks autumn launch

Throwing in a little animated intro and some fresh gameplay, check out Casual Bit's latest trailer for Battle Princess Madelyn. It mentions an autumn release, and there isn't that much of autumn to go, so here's hoping for more great Ghosts n Goblins style platforming fun soon.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Slayaway Camp: Butcher’s Cut chopping up the Vita

Cubist horror fans are in for a treat with Slayaway Camp, a debut from Blue Wizard Digital, arriving early November, a couple of years on from its Steam original release. A killer isometric puzzle game, players control Skullface, a cute-yet-psychotic slasher. He rampages around each level, squashing, flaying, and decapitating hapless victims.

The recent trophy listing helped prepare us for this fresh horror, but as you can tell by the trailer, Slayaway Camp is a darkly comic homage to 80s horror movies. Vita owners get a special console-only Butcher’s Cut edition, the biggest and bloodiest version. The game has a 9/10 rating on Steam, and comes hot on the heels of pixel-chiller Halloween Forever. Features include:

  • Base game and the following additional content: Deluxe Edition, My Gory Valentine, HellCamp, Monthly Murderers Series 1 & 2, Supernatural Forces, and Santa’s Slay 
  • 300+ Fiendish puzzle levels to massacre your way through
  • 60+ Killers to cause comical carnage with, including deranged wackos such as Mutant Hillbilly, Kevin, and the killer inter-dimensional clown: THAT
  • 90+ Gorepacks with delightfully OTT kill scenes to shock and entertain
  • Feeling squeamish? Choose PG Mode and play without blood or gore
  • Starring Mark Meer (Cdr. Shepard from Mass Effect) as Skullface and Derek Mears (Jason from Friday the 13th) as Jessica
  • Genuine hair-metal soundtrack by legendary Canadian group GNÜ TRUNTION
  • Created by Jason Kapalka (Peggle, Bejewelled), Nate Schmold & Jessi Ross (Cosmochoria) and Ido Yehieli (Cardinal Quest)
  • Slayaway Camp was selected as an overall winner at the annual Google Play Indie Games Festival

Vita still bobbling along in Japan

As we approach the holiday season in Japan, Vita sales continue to bumble along between 2,250 and 2,500. I doubt there will be anything like the spikes of previous years in December, as Japan gulps down Switch units at 40,000 a week, but any little boost will be welcome.

Again, no Vita games in the Media Create top 20 chart. A couple of weeks back, historical visual novel Sengoku Hime 7, a series that's been running since the PSP days, managed to sneak into the top 30, but there aren't any serious Vita releases until the next Atelier just before Christmas.

kFunction lighting up Vita OLEDs with Scintillatron 4096

Just when you thought Vita release news had dried up forever, along comes Dorset-based developer kFunction with its particle-tastic shooter Scintillatron 4096. An intense combo challenge with online leaderboards and trophies to tempt you to master the fast-paced arcade shoot ‘em up action!

These shots are from the 4K PS4 Pro version, but hopefully the Vita edition will bring some of this magic to OLED screens in December.

UPDATE: Release date set for the 18th

In Scintillatron 4096, players take on hundreds of enemies in frantic showdowns whilst also making tactical choices about the colour-based combo system. Combinable power ups can either help or hinder game play and topping the global rankings is the aim of the game.

Features include:

  • Combos - This is what it’s all about! High scores need combos. Enemies are one of two colours. Take them out in sequence and aim for a perfect wave. Learn what to attack first, how to ‘herd’ the enemies and how to use the colour-flip-power-up to maximise your combo score.
  • Hi-Score and world rankings - Just like it used to be, your hi score is everything. Scintillatron 4096 has local and worldwide rankings for score, deepest wave and highest combo. The scores are separately tracked for one and two player games.
  • Single player -  Alternatively, play on your own with dedicated high score tables, rankings and achievements.
  • Challenge - We mean it when we say the game is easy to play but difficult to master. Progress a little, build some combos and you’ll find packed, intense levels with audio and visuals to match.

If you can't wait or want to get warmed up, give Son of Scoregasm or Geometry Wars 3 a go.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Meet the boss in Shakedown Hawaii

Vblank has a fun write-up of the CEO character in Shakedown Hawaii, with the game now scheduled for a release early next year. Just one snippet... Shakedown: Hawaii includes a full Story Mode (including side quests), Arcade Challenges for fast paced pick-up-and-play action, and Free Roam Mode for when you just want to dive into the world and play.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

New pair of Persona Dancing... trailers

The Persona disco craze continues with new trailers for Dancing in Moonlight and Dancing in Starlight as we meet new characters and their moves. The games land on 4th December, so now should be the perfect time to explore Persona 4: Dancing All Night again, or for the first time, to set your fingers tapping!

Halloween Forever scares up a trailer

Ahh, its the fake fear time of year. And Poppy Works has a new trailer for Halloween Forever showing off the SNES-style platform adventure from Peter Lazarski with a pip-spewing pumpkinhead trying to survive in what looks the unfriendly world of the undead.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Death Mark western trailer begs you to pick up the phone

While the horror is palpable in any language, the game makes a bit more sense with English subtitles. So, thank Aksys Games Localization for this anglicized trailer of Death Mark, with all the fun hinted at by the ESRB rating!

Remember the limited edition when considering buying the horror fest, when the game releases at the end of the month. Oh, and don't pick up the phone!

Vita sales tick up in Japan

After the news that the Vita will be discontinued next year, sales in Japan have perked up to 2,600 over the last couple of weeks, according to Media Create. But no big jump, most likely as gamers are picking up second hand units as spares. On the plus side, it is outselling the PS4 Pro and the 3DS LL.

No Vita games in the chart, where Super Mario Party fluffs its lines, selling just over 100K. Not much on the schedule bar visual novels and low-end JRPGs until December to give things a boost.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Snogging alert in latest Catherine Fully Body clip

Lap it up westerners since we don't appear to getting Catherine over here. Enjoy another break-in-the-action clip of sweet nothings as Japan prepares to get its hands on the ultimate version of this action puzzler. Still four months to go for the JP release, and maybe if we keep politely hammering away at Atlus USA, they might do the right thing and the help the Vita go out with a bang.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

EastAsiaSoft fires a Fast Striker our way

Bullet Hell definitely looks like the appropriate description for Fast Striker, a  classic shmup from Germany's NG Dev Team. Originally released as a modern Neo Geo and Dreamcast title, it packs in massive ships, a driving soundtrack and tight, tactical space battles.

The game is out in mid-October and will get a physical release, limited to just 2,200 copies on Vita. Some Vita physicals are digging near the bottom of the barrel, but this looks like a great title to own.

Features include:
  • 6 Stages, including huge boss battles
  • 4 Game modes: Novice, Original, Maniac & Omake
  • Elaborate scoring system
  • Adjustable screen & control settings
  • Constant 60 fps

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

I Am the Hero hits the Vita soon

We might rip into Ratalaika for dropping games with easy platinums, but the Vita's most active port specialists do the hard yards when required. Take I Am the Hero, a beat 'em up from CrazyAnt that has stretched the Vita's ageing hardware and required some serious optimisation to get it running.

Update:the game hits PSN next week on 28th November.

With reflective surfaces, a mix of polys and pixels and lots of animation and effects going on, hopefully it will remain fluid and fun. The original is only a year old from Steam too, so far from a quick mobile port. Release is promised before Christmas, so bring it on!